I’ve been reviewing guitars for 25 years and collecting them for about four decades, so I can attest that it’s very rare when a new electric solidbody guitar model comes along that has its own distinctive sound and personality instead of reminding me of a slight variation of something I’ve played before.
The Reverend Billy Corgan Signature is one of those rare exceptions.
While it certainly shares features with other Reverend models that I know and love, the entire package—from my example’s satin purple burst finish and segmented aluminum body panels to the unique character of its Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature pickups—is truly new, exciting, and perhaps even revolutionary.
At first glance, the Reverend Billy Corgan Signature looks like a standard dual-humbucker guitar with a bolt-on maple neck and a 25 1/2-inch scale. However, several features combine to deliver a very distinctive tonal profile that truly sounds unlike any other solidbody electric I’ve ever played. The body, which has the same signature offset, asymmetrical double-cutaway shape as the earliest Reverend models, is made out of Korina and is chambered in carefully chosen sections to enhance resonance, dynamics, and sustain while also reducing overall weight. While the pickups look like standard humbuckers, closer examination reveals an exposed bar polepiece for the lower three strings and three round polepieces for the upper three strings.
The design provides tone similar to a P90 but fatter and the clarity and brilliant treble of a single-coil pickup with true humbucking, noise-free performance. The Bass Contour control allows guitarists to shape their tone dramatically, offering everything from enhanced bass that makes the tone even fatter and bigger to rolled-off low end that makes the mids and treble more sparkling and clear.
Other features include a string-thru-body flatmount bridge with stainless steel saddles, 22 medium jumbo frets, Reverend pin-lock tuners, a graphite nut, master volume and tone controls, a three-position blade pickup selector switch, and a six-bolt neck attachment that keeps the neck rock solid.
Apparently Corgan’s tonal reference point for his Railhammer signature pickups was Tony Iommi’s “cocked wah” midrange. The Reverend Corgan certainly delivers that distinctive, vocal-like midrange personality, but without sacrificing bass and treble frequencies. As a result, the guitar sounds great both when played clean or with generous layers of distortion. Best of all, every note rings out loud and clear. The tone is impressively musical, particularly for rhythm parts where note-to-note definition is crucial.
LIST PRICE: $1,439
MANUFACTUER: Reverend Guitars, reverendguitars.com
• The Billy Corgan Signature Railhammer pickups combine the noise-free performance of humbuckers with the clarity and sparkle of single-coil pickups.
• The Bass Contour control provides much more sonic flexibility than standard guitar tone controls by boosting or rolling off crucial bass frequencies.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Reverend Billy Corgan Signature delivers truly unique tones that stand out from the sea of soundalike guitars crowding today’s market, making it a great choice for players seeking their own voice or to add new sounds to their rigs.